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Run Like Kevin McCarthy Fight Like Jim Jordan

Yesterday, House Republicans conducted their leadership elections, and the candidate favored by most conservatives – Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio – was defeated by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), the current House Majority Leader.

McCarthy and JordanWhen Rep. McCarthy was first elected House Majority Leader CHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie remarked that McCarthy was a "business-as-usual, go-along-to-get-along Washington insider” and observed that “The gap between the leadership of the Republican Party and the base of the party continues to widen.”

In response Rep. McCarthy told Fox News’ Chris Wallace:

I think he [Mr. Viguerie] probably doesn't know my background. I'm a conservative. I believe in the idea of freedom and liberty, but more importantly, look at my voting background. I voted against bailing out Wall Street. I voted against, never voted for a tax increase.

I come through the grassroots. My family was not Republicans. I'm the youngest. I came to this party based upon choice. I believe the Constitution matters, that it's not just a few pieces of paper.

That was certainly a conservative response, and to be fair to Rep. McCarthy, a good one.

But it is also one that skipped over part of Mr. Viguerie’s statement that Chris Wallace didn't use or ask Rep. McCarthy about, which was "that all of the candidates running for House Majority Leader and Majority Whip claimed to be conservatives."

And this is especially true in Rep. McCarthy’s case, where his claim of a conservative voting record is undercut by his abysmal 41 percent rating from Heritage Action for America and similarly low ratings from other conservative organizations.

What was true in 2014 is even truer today, now that Republican numbers in the House have receded and Kevin McCarthy is now Minority Leader of the Republicans.

It is hard to find a Republican on Capitol Hill that doesn't claim to be a conservative; but it is also hard to find a former Republican Committee Chairman or member of leadership who actually stood and fought for the principles of freedom and liberty when they come into conflict with the Big Business agenda that motivates such unpopular policies as amnesty for illegal aliens, raising the debt ceiling without spending cuts and various corporate giveaways, such as the Ex-Im Bank and green energy tax breaks.

What has brought grassroots conservatives into open conflict with the House Republican leadership team that came to power after the Tea Party wave election of 2010 is not what they say about being conservative - it is the disconnect between the conservative philosophy they espouse and the practical application of that philosophy in legislation.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s opponent for Minority Leader, Rep. Jim Jordan, recognized this and ran on a platform called “keep our promises” and vowed to fight for conservative principles and President Trump’s conservative – populist agenda at every turn in the legislative process.

Unfortunately, we heard no such commitment from Rep. McCarthy in the run-up to yesterday’s vote, but there’s no reason he couldn’t adopt Jordan’s ideas and fighting attitude.

Some on the CHQ team view Kevin McCarthy as not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he has a reputation for being able to sell complex legislation to the rank and file members of the House Republican Conference, and like another California conservative - Ronald Reagan - he came to the Republican Party because of the ideals for which the Party stood.

Like many other Capitol Hill Republicans, McCarthy has many of the right instincts, but every compromise he makes with the Democrats, and every Big Business giveaway he supports grows government and erodes the liberty and constitutional principles that he claims to stand for - and that's what is causing the gap between the Capitol Hill GOP leadership and the grassroots base of the Party.

You can't say you're a conservative and then vote for crony deals for Big Business, like the Ex-Im Bank. Nor can you say you are for a balanced budget and then vote to break the spending caps established back in 2011.  And you certainly can't say you are for the Constitution and the rule of law and then support amnesty for illegal aliens.

The grassroots have become convinced that the House GOP leadership team is tone-deaf and spends too much time attacking President Trump and the conservative members of its own Conference and not enough fighting the Democrats.  

And this isn’t new: McCarthy’s mentor, former Speaker John Boehner called conservatives "knuckle draggers" and Kevin McCarthy went to Amelia Island, Florida in March of 2014 to raise money for the Main Street Partnership's campaign to defeat Tea Party conservatives in primaries.

Mr. Viguerie has often said the number one thing conservatives have lacked in his 50+ years of being involved in the conservative movement at the national level is strong, articulate, effective leadership.

Jim Jordan is that kind of strong, articulate, effective leader, but the House GOP election is over, and Kevin McCarthy is the House Minority Leader.

If we take Rep. McCarthy at his word he has the right instincts and the right tools; he could be, not just a good leader, but a great leader, if he adopts Jim Jordan’s platform of keeping the GOP’s promises and fighting for conservative principles and President Trump’s conservative – populist agenda at every turn in the legislative process.

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Political Payback

McCarthy has made a tactical error by not making Jordan the #2 R in line to serve in his place......It would have given his claims a lot more meat and maybe even some real trust.....